Hell

I have learned what my hell will be if I were to go there. And my mode of transportation to get there. It won't be a handbasket.

Hell will be watching people work on computers. It will be a room full of computers and people who don't know anything about keyboard shortcuts, can't type, always use the mouse, and move their head to follow the mouse cursor instead of following it with just their eyes. (That's why God created EYE SOCKETS people!). (I'm not talking just of Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V here. Some people refuse to use Alt+Tab, or Ctrl+Shift style [Ctrl+Shift+right arrow, or left arrow]. Shift pageup... not to mention some people don't even know that Page Up exists!) There are many, many ways to be faster in multiple operating systems, but most people don't use them, or don't know them, or find that they don't want to be fast because they get paid for eight hours of work so they might as well charge 4 hours for "Maneuvering around a computer's User Interface".

I will get to hell by following someone down a seemingly never ending hill in my car, they will be in their car, and they will be braking the whole time to stay under the 35 MPH speed limit. Of course it will either be a double solid yellow line one lane road, or it will be a passable road but with never ending traffic in the oncoming lane. Also, when it's not going down the hill, they will put on the brakes with nobody in front of them for at least 13 car lengths, only going 34 MPH, because the car in front of them put on their brakes.

I have a job, I don't have a job, I have one, I don't

I don't know anymore.

Oh well, can't blame anyone. Either I'll have to look for one after June 20th, or I won't. We'll see. To their credit, they "definitely want to bring me on, there's no question about that". "Bring me on" of course is slang for "to treat one as a god". That should be nice.

House shopping is on hold. I hate contracts, but I love them. I know this is a very confusing post. I wasn't sure if posting would work, but it does (I sorta broke it), so I am not committed to making this the best quality post, and I have a headache, which doubly ensures that this post will suck.

And how's this for confusion... today, I'm working with:

XSL, XML, XLS, VBS, and C#.

It's wonderful to get so many acronymns to have to know, and each one consists of about 100 grams of knowledge. I measure knowledge in metric system mass measurements... because if my brain weighs 2kg or whatever (.... thinking back to Jerry Maguire "The human head weighs 8 pounds"... that's right, 8lbs). So, say it weighs 4kg, and is capable of storing information in 10% of that, which is .4kg or 400g. Now, take everything you know and remember... that's 100% of 400g. So with each of those things taking up around 100g, then I'm actually taking up more than 400g, so I'm obviously using more than 10% of my brain. Just to give you an idea.

XSL and XLS are very different. (Yes, XLS is the stupid, sucky MS Excel file format). (Coincidentally, XSL [or XSLT] are xml stylesheets, with which you can transform XML. It's neat).

Interesting Development: We have glass doors here at work that allow entrance to the whole third floor. Well, someone working on those doors, and with a HAMMER, shattered one and now there's glass ALL over the place. I was apparently the second one to see, but when I got there, there were no perpetrators around, and I didn't want to be seen alone at the crime scene. That's like admitting guilt, especially in a place without laws or police or a judicial system, just bosses. So I jumped into the elevator and ran outside. There was a guy out there, and he looked steamed. He was talking on the cell phone, and I wasn't really listening, but then he said, in a much louder voice, "BOOM!". I assumed he was talking about our door. He went in, and I went back upstairs eventually, and he was picking up the glass. That's a lot of damn glass too. And did you know that a lot of glass in a pile will crackle? I walked by at first and apparently all the glass was falling into place, so it was crackling. I didn't hear the actual crash or "BOOM!" as the guy described it. But, that was interesting.

And don't you hate it when you say "The door on the third floor is destroyed and there's glass all over." And someone immediately asks, "Really?!? What happened?!!" I don't f@#$%@ing know!! I just told you everything I know, and none of it involves HOW it happened. All my mad Sherlock Holmes skills will tell you is that there was a hammer in the pile of glass, and a 2-3 foot step ladder in front of what used to be the door. From what I can derive, I'd imagine someone was working near the door with a hammer, probably up towards the ceiling, and a misplaced downthrust of the hammer shattered the glass. It's all I can deduct. From that, our perp will be dressed as a carpenter... jeans, maybe a utility belt, working boots, etc. That was what the guy outside looked like. That's all I know. Turns out I was right :-D

Help!!

First off, it's like a bazillion degrees out

A bazillion degrees

Second, I want to take off for my birthday, but it's on a Thursday so I wanted to then take off Thursday AND Friday. Is this generally acceptable? I can see if I say I'm taking off for my birthday, the majority of thought might conclude that I'm taking off one day. But, if I just say that I'm taking off Thursday and Friday, without specifying that it's for my birthday, then it seems more justified.

We're at a slow time in work, hopefully the client signs off on the next stage so we can get to work and I don't get finished everything given to me for one week at 3:38 PM on that Monday.

Happy Halloween!

Today, I start my new job. All Souls' Day. Should be a good time. Yesterday, I was watching football, and I noticed that you can't really watch a football game, and see a crowd sweep, and be reminded that the day after is Halloween, because people are always dressed up, or have face paint on, or a mask. It's just sports :)

New Video Games!!

Woohoo! Today, I was offered two jobs literally 20 minutes apart. I've never been offered more than one job at a time, so I would always just take the next job. This is a different experience completely. Getting to choose is a pleasure, however, having to choose SUCKS!! In the end, they are both great companies, but one was more along the lines of what I feel that I want in this stage in my career. Money is hardly an issue, I knew they would both be sufficient to my needs. I didn't get into programming for the money, obviously!! Just read under "Computer Science" on the left! I'll take the money though, because I have bills and stuff that I need or might eventually want. However, two jobs to choose from wasn't an easy choice. I had a feeling yesterday that I would be offered both jobs, so that's when the deliberation started. I had to really find out what I wanted, and it was tough. Anyway, I am back on the career ladder. And just in time! Some great video games came out today.

F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) is the best game I've ever played. It's gorgeous, the combat is exciting and beautiful, the atmosphere is freaky as hell, and it's just an all around great game. I'll have screens soon.

Dragonshard is being installed now. It's a real time strategy game (RTS) based on the rules defined in Dungeons and Dragons. That's a role playing game (RPG), or rather, a board game RPG with a set of rules that many computer RPGs follow. Neverwinter Nights uses the D&D rules, for instance. So, it'll be an interesting mix between RPG and RTS. I look forward to playing it.

Another game worth mentioning, which isn't out until at least February '06, is S.T.A.L.K.E.R. I know, lots of acronyms. I've been following the development of this game ever since I first heard about it. I'm happy to report that they are still working on it! They actually had it done at one point, then decided that it wasn't fun enough, so they reworked some things, rewrote the story, tweaked some things, and are well on their way to seeing the February '06 deadline. You can read about it here.

Overall, a pretty exciting week :)

DH, Buses and Anything Else I Think Of

I live in the only town called "Drexel Hill" on the entire planet. I can't say the same about where I work... Philadelphia.

I like taking the bus in the morning. I used to take the bus to school between 1st and 3rd grades. We moved to within a block of the school during my 3rd grade. However, some things have changed, some good, some bad. For instance, we used to bounce up and down on our seats so that when we hit a bump, you would bounce much higher, which would prompt laughter from all over the bus. Our bus driver back then was a giant a-hole. We pissed him off pretty good. When you would miss the school bus, that's it... you had to walk. Jeff and I missed a few times and would trek the multiple side roads and one main road into school. The school bus was free for me. Now, you see different people every time. Some people you see a few times a week. Now, I would have the option of taking my car, but I find it a lot more enjoyable letting someone else drive, plus parking anywhere besides in my driveway sucks. Now, it's anyone's guess if there will be people at the next bus stop. Now, you almost never see kids on the bus. And now, my destination is a lot cooler.

That paragraph is stupid.

Work is cool because sometimes we'll talk about stuff at my manager's desk. Work related stuff. But, I get in by 9 and all the sudden it's 11:30 and I haven't done any programming, research, analysis, design, or whatever I'm doing that day.

I saw someone get punched yesterday. This man and woman were arguing at the bottom of the escalator, and she threw a pretty decent jab and caught him under the chin. He was calm and didn't have a fit, so that was good. It could have taken a much worse turn if he had really been an angry type of guy. I didn't want to have to whoop some ass.

Man, this post really sucks.

This just in...

Top Sports Cities (Article Registration required. The origin is The Sporting News)
1. Boston
2. Philadelphia
3. Detroit
4. Miami
5. Los Angeles/Anaheim
6. Houston
7. Baltimore/Washington
8. Dallas/Fort Worth
9. Atlanta
10. New York/New Jersey

Individual Sports
Baseball: St. Louis
NBA: San Antonio, Texas
NFL: Green Bay, Wis.
NHL: Philadelphia
College basketball: Philadelphia
College football: Iowa City, Iowa.
NASCAR: Bristol, Tenn.

NFL : Green BAY?!!?1?11 We have so many more people than them, the best and most raudy fans in the F@#%!#! world, and we get to the NFC Championship game EVERY YEAR. That's bull. I don't even know that we win Hockey, but we'll take it :) I like all Philly sports, but it's a football town. I can't wait to see the Flyers, next year's Sixers, 10 years from now's Phillies, and who doesn't freakin love the Eagles. Green Bay sucks and I hope they lose every game this year. Oh, and I know someone who will be terribly offended that Philly also wins college basketball. Anyone who lives in a little city called "Lexington" in that small southern state known as "Kentucky". Those guys are nuts.

Friday, Baby, and The Full Time Job

Well, it's official : I'm hung over. Another thing you might call official is that I work in an office. You can't get any more official than being an office dweller.

So, it's Friday, July 22nd, 2005. Today is a remarkable day, since only yesterday, my family welcomed its 5th (!) child in almost as many years! Welcome, Meghan Catherine Connell born to Scott and Nikki!! 7 lbs 5 oz, human, 10 toes, 10 fingers, one cute baby. I saw pictures but I haven't seen her in person yet. I have a knack for not seeing my nieces on their day of birth. When Kira was born, I was in college. However, when Caden and Ethan were born, I was right there, hanging out with Patty for a week to make sure she didn't try to clean the place. They were 10 weeks premature, weighing in at 3 lbs 4 oz and 1 lb 12 oz respectably. When Danny was born, I was there a few minutes after, and for a few hours in all. Now, Meghan was born, and I wasn't there. I'll be by tonight, bet on it. One cool extra thing about having another niece is that before I would have to say "My niece and nephews are coming over", when so many times I just wanted to say "My nieces and nephews are coming over." I finally don't have to worry about that anymore.

Another reason to celebrate last night was that I received an offer letter from the business that I've been a contractor at for the last 3 months! I am the bomb afterall.

El Reconstruction

For this whole week, the El will be under construction, being shut down from 40th to 69th street, for all intensive purposes. Today was my first day experiencing this ordeal. Let me tell you, it sucks. Take a look at this picture for a rough estimate of what's going on.



The optimal route would go right down Market Street. As you can see by the blue line, it doesn't do this, even after going halfway to Delaware first. This is due to the fact that, indeed, the El is under construction, rendering most of Market Street inaccessible. But the mystery of the new route is that first mile or so. I would assume this is also due to the fact that the shortcut to Chestnut (the road the El Shuttle, the blue line, takes before it turns to meet Market street), goes down Market Street as well, and you're only able to turn off at the first elevated station. So, the first mile may be necessary, however long it is. This first mile is the detour for everyone else going down Market, of course, or so it seems, as it was backed up immensely, and took 10-15 minutes of bumper-to-bumper hell to get through it.

Ok, the way back is fine. You travel the scenic route, up Walnut. It's slow but direct.

On the way in today, there was no mile long detour. This time, we were in one of those double buses with the flexy thing in the middle. That was different. Anyway, departure time 7:58 AM at the end of my street, walked into my office at 8:57 AM (approximate). Not a bad way in.

Like a Man Who Fears Nothing

As you may know, I take the trolley and the El into work everyday. Trolley to 69th Street, then 69th to work. You may have heard that there were subway bombings yesterday in London, and that had caused alert levels to rise here in the lovely USA, but only for rail lines (which I think is dumb, but that's another story for another time, like in 10 minutes). However, I fear nothing, so I continue to go to work on the train. Call this whatever you want (courage, heroism, Godlike symptoms), I'm a stud.

Mainly, this courage comes from my lack of fear from dying or losing a leg or something, but also it comes from necessity for a paycheck. You might ask, what good is a paycheck if you're dead? Well, I'm sure that no one who has received a paycheck posthumously can answer that question, so why would you be asking me it? Like I know? Are you racist against dead people?! Ok, don't make me play the dead card on your ass. I'll have civil rights all over it.

So now that I've covered my utter lack of fear from anything (except bugs flying down or up my shirt), let's ponder why it's dumber than Kodie to raise threat alerts here in the United States. These also happen to be more reasons that I'm not afraid of an attack.

1) Coordinated attacks usually happen at the same time, hence the word "coordinated". By the time we heard of London's attacks it would have been too late already. Plus, there's like a huge time difference, so rush hour in the morning there is like sleepy time here. Rush hour in the evening there, if it's 5 o'clock, is lunch. My point is, terrorists would have suspected that the USA would have taken steps to prevent an attack here after hearing of the one in London. So they would have either coordinated an attack or just decided to attack one place.

2) Terrorists are not stupid. We probably insulted them bigtime by raising threat levels on only the public trans systems. Seriously, do you think, if attacks are only slightly coordinated, like 5-6 hours apart, that they would perform the same types of attacks? Meaning, bombs on subways?! Come on. I give them a little more credit than that.

That's not to discount the police or metro police who stand by the turnstyles everyday, looking for anything suspicious. But that brings up a question. They're always there. I thought the threat level was raised. Shouldn't they be "stepping up" security? They have the same amount. Oh well, I still feel safe. Plus, SEPTA has these signs, and has had them for as long as I've taken it, in their cars that say "Nothing can stop a train faster than a forgotten bag" or something like that. And it also warns to keep an eye out for this activity. I think it's brilliant. But, we're only Philly, what interest would al Qaeda have in us? I have no idea.

My route to Work

For those wondering, my route to work consists of two very large vehicles. First, I hop on the 101 Trolley at Lansdowne and Garret (Bonner High), take that to 69th Street, then take the Market-Frankford Line. The entire trip takes less than 30 minutes, and I go more than 50 streets on the train! It's not a bad ride at all. I found free parking less than 2 blocks away from the Trolley Station and that station is a 5 minute drive (with Bonner HS traffic) from my house.

Check out SEPTA's site for more information. (Acrobat Required)
101 Trolley
Market-Frankford Line